This week the technical communication world is abuzz over the April 1 release of Remco Children’s Bedroom Suite: Assembly Instructions. Written by breakout author Julian Rebusser, it’s the first technical manual written entirely in emojis.
Recently I caught up with Rebusser, Skyping from a very hip coffee shop on the West Coast, for this exclusive interview.
Leading Technical Communication: Welcome, Mr. Rebusser, and thank you for agreeing to appear in my blog.
Rebusser: You’re welcome. I read somewhere online that your blog is influential, and I’m all about building my personal brand.
Tell me about your new book.
It’s got all the instructions for unpacking and assembling a full suite of children’s furniture: bed, night stand, armoire, desk, chair. For a few extra bucks you can even get a
Assembling all of that must require a lot of complicated steps.
Yes. And when I wrote it as a conventional manual, it was like 20 pages of
What inspired you to write an all-emoji technical manual?
I had an epiphany one morning, waiting for the barista to brew my double-shot
Wow. What was that like?
Well, for the first time ever, I thought about my audience.
You hadn’t thought about your audience before?
Of course not. Great writers don’t think about their audience. They think about cool, hip ways to express themselves. But for 2 or 3 minutes that morning, for some reason, I thought about my audience. And I realized something.
What did you realize?
Well, who usually assembles a furniture set for ?
Their parents, I suppose.
Right. And who are those parents?
I’m not sure I follow.
They’re Millennials! Digital natives. People who don’t read
They don’t read books?
Of course not. They don’t like to read anything. I saw that in an article online.
And so the children’s parents….
Right. If I gave them words they’d never read them.
So, instead, you gave them….
Emojis! Millennials love emojis. I saw that online too. And I knew I was for the job because I speak fluent emoji.
What happened next?
In no time my 20-page draft was down to 2.
Can you give me an example?
It used to take a whole page to explain how to bolt the legs to the bed.
I — I’m speechless.
I presented this last week at Write the Docs, and they were speechless too.
So now everyone knows you as the first all-emoji technical writer. What’s next?
Well, it’s all still . Can you promise to keep a secret ?
Next year when Remco rolls out its do-it-yourself flower garden, I’ll be there with an emoji-based augmented-reality experience. I’m calling it Pokemon Grow.
I can hardly wait.
It’ll totally blow your mind.
Yeah, I’m sure it w–